By BassFan Staff

The leaderboard says one thing, but the pros are singing a different tune after day 1 of the Lake Eufaula FLW Tour.

Three bags in excess of 20 pounds made their way to the stage, including two over 22 pounds. That alone is enough to make some say, "The boys caught 'em pretty well."

The men responsible, however, said it was far from easy and they don't expect it to get any easier looking ahead. However, with the population of big fish that inhabit Eufaula's waters, it's possible three different pros (or more) could haul 20-pound stringers to the scale tomorrow. It's far from a sure thing, though.

For now, Justin Lucas is the man everyone's chasing. The resident of Guntersville, Ala., caught 22-06, which was 3 ounces better than Joe Don Setina's 22-03 effort. Bryan Thrift is currently 3rd with 20-06.

Andy Morgan's 19-15 was the first bag to hit the weigh station today and it was good enough for 4th while Brandon Coulter is an ounce behind him in 5th.

Brent Ehrler, the leader in Angler of the Year (AOY) points coming into the event, is off to another strong start with 17-12 that landed him in 9th.

Here's how the Top 10 shaped up after 1 day of competition, with the deficit margin from Lucas indicated by red numbers in parentheses:

1. Justin Lucas: 22-06
2. Joe Don Setina: 22-03 (00-03)
3. Bryan Thrift: 20-06 (2-00)
4. Andy Morgan: 19-15 (2-07)
5. Brandon Coulter: 19-14 (2-08)
6. Todd Hollowell: 18-06 (4-00)
7. Scott Martin: 18-04 (4-02)
8. J.T. Kenney: 17-13 (4-09)
9. Brent Ehrler: 17-12 (4-10)
10. Randy Haynes: 17-03 (5-03)

A little more than half of the field (82 of 155) bagged limits today, an illustration of how tough the fishing has been as the fish continue their post-spawn transition toward deeper water. Fishing a variety of depths across a variety of locales seemed to be a theme among anglers BassFan spoke with. Some noted the water temperatures in some areas had come up 10 degrees since earlier in the week and that changed where some fish were setting up.

Some morning cloud cover burned off pretty quickly today, but more clouds are expected tomorrow as there's a slight chance of some afternoon rain and thunderstorms. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 80s with a south wind approaching 10 mph.

The field will be reduced to the Top 20 after tomorrow's round. After Saturday, the Top 10 will advance to Sunday's final round, when the winner will be determined by highest cumulative weight.

Fast Start for Lucas

> Day 1: 5, 22-06

Based on the practice he had, Lucas would've been totally satisfied with 12 or 13 pounds to start his tournament. Coming out with nearly double that was never in his mind.

"I am absolutely surprised," he said. "I had no idea. I had a little flurry right away and I had 16 1/2 pounds in the first 90 minutes."

After a bit of a lull, he went to work upgrading. By the end of the day, he'd caught fish off beds, with a frog and offshore with a crankbait.

"I struggled for a little while and then ran to a bed-fish that was still there that was about 4 1/2 pounds and caught her," he said. "I marked several others on beds that wouldn't have helped at that point."

He then caught a 5-pounder on a frog and made additional culls from deeper water. He said he started the day with more than a dozen rods strewn across the deck of his boat – "It's the most I've ever had out in my life," he said – but he wound up catching most of his weight on a Lucky Craft LC 2.5DD crankbait.

"There were definitely periods of the day where I didn't get any bites, but as tough as the fishing is out there, it was a spectacular day," he added. "There are some nice fish in here, definitely, but it's just in a funk right now."

2nd: Setina Going Deep

> Day 1: 5, 22-03

Setina is putting the throw-big-bait-catch-big-fish theory to work this week and it held true today. The Texan is winging a custom-painted Strike King 10XD crankbait over river ledges.

"It was a grind," he said. "There are some big ones out there, but they're hard to come by. I was actually expecting to have more than I what I had. I had four good ones, but I figured I could catch four 5- or 6-pounders and maybe have an 8 or 9."

FLW/Brett Carlson
Photo: FLW/Brett Carlson

Bryan Thrift was in panic mode after not getting a couple early-morning bites.

He said Lamonte Loyd, a fellow Texan and the man behind the custom paint jobs, came to the lake for a scouting trip and caught close to 30 pounds one day so he knew the potential was there for a big sack.

"I caught one here and there," he said. "I tried not to beat my stuff up real bad because I know this could be a 4-day deal. I swung six keepers into the boat. It was really tough. There are just not a lot of fish out there, but they're good ones out there when you get them to bite."

He said he had his limit by 9:30, plucking fish off several areas that are in close proximity to each other. He closed the day by bagging one close to 5 pounds that culled out a 14 1/2-incher.

3rd: Relief for Thrift

> Day 1: 5, 20-06

Unable to capitalize on the early-morning bite today, Thrift was in full-fledged panic mode. Yup, Mr. Haven't-Finished-Outside-The-Top-10-In-AOY-Since-2007 didn't know what to do or where to turn.

That he was able to gather himself and wind up with one of three 20-pound stringers for the day speaks to his ability to figure things on the fly. As enjoyable as it was, he'd rather not have to go through the agony again tomorrow.

"I caught a decent one or two in practice, but (Tuesday) was just awful," he said. "I was doing the same thing as I did the first 2 days and I started to think I was going to be in big trouble after that. I just got fortunate today."

He tried everything, too.

"I fished docks, grass, lily pads, steep banks, flat banks, off the bank, I fished everything," he added. "I must've hit 40 or 50 spots and did a complete circle around the whole lake.

"I thought I was in trouble because I had no fish early. I was thinking in order to have a good day, I needed two or three decent fish in the first hour. When that didn't happen, I went into panic mode. I didn't know what to do. I ended up just going fishing. I thought maybe if I fished hard all day I'd catch a limit and maybe a good one."

He did more than that. While he caught just six keeper largemouths and some smaller spotted bass, two 5-pounders anchored his weigh sack.

"I caught a couple offshore and a couple up shallow," he said. "The way the fish are moving right now, they're so scattered. I'm sure some guys have found some out deep where they can catch one after another. For me, it's been a grind just to get a bite."

4th: Morgan Timed it Right

> Day 1: 5, 19-15

The bites did not come fast or furious for Morgan, but the ones he did get put a serious bow in his rod.

"I caught a couple on the shad spawn in the morning and then that slowed down, which was expected," he said. "Then I hit a good school and caught three big'uns boom, boom, boom. The rest were scattered here and there. I don't think I caught more than eight keepers all day."

The key to his day was all about timing.

"I hit that one little sweet spot and got off them before anyone saw me there," he said. "They're not moving much water early on and that makes it harder to catch them because there's nothing that's current-related. I just happened to hit one of those post-spawn schools and left.

FLW/Brett Carlson
Photo: FLW/Brett Carlson

Andy Morgan isn't sure what to expect tomorrow.

"Tomorrow, I'm in the later flight and I'll probably have to check on that school again. I've got that one spot, though, and nothing else I can really count on."

5th: Simple was Better for Coulter

> Day 1: 5, 19-14

Coulter said a few fellow pros joked during practice that the fishing had been so tough on them that they were wishing the tournament was at Beaver Lake this week.

He said his practice was just as challenging, adding that all of the fish he caught over 3 days wouldn't have come close to the limit he caught today.

"I think I just simplied things today," he said. "By the end of practice, I had 25 rods on my deck and I was talking to my wife and she said, 'You told me you were only going to do two or three different things.' That kind of hit home so I went with I like to do best and went to some new areas and it just worked out."

He had the most success throwing a topwater bait around shallow cover, but knows the challenge lies in uncovering new areas where the same pattern can hold up.

"That’s the problem, these fish don't replenish," he said. "The offshore stuff will be good for days. I'm going to have to keep changing sections of the lake and hope to catch them better than the other guys. I'm not saying I can't go catch them tomorrow, but if my practice is any indication it's going to be a struggle.

"The one thing I like about this lake is the deep guys will be okay because it looks like more fish will come to them, but there are a lot of fish that live shallow here. It's just going to be hard to be consistent for 4 days shallow."

9th: Ehrler Worried

> Day 1: 5, 17-12

Ehrler didn't anticipate the big weights that were caught by the leaders nor did he expect to catch what he did.

"I can't believe how good they caught 'em," he said. "I was thinking 8 to 10 pounds a day would get you a Top-50 finish. Now, it's looking like to 10 to 12."

He said he caught six keepers, one of which was completely random.

FLW/Kyle Wood
Photo: FLW/Kyle Wood

Brandon Coulter went back to basics today and it paid off.

"It was brutal tough for me," he said. "I'm actually worried about tomorrow. It's just not easy. I struggled all week and feel real fortunate to have caught 17 pounds. I thought that'd be in the Top 10 for sure. I ran around a lot and it didn't pan out like I thought it would. The way it happened for me, I can see not catching them tomorrow and that's what has me worried. I fished so many areas where I just didn't feel like a bass lived there."

89th: Salvage Mode for Scheide

> Day 1: 5, 8-07

Ray Scheide came into the event in 13th place in AOY points, solidly in contention to make the Forrest Wood Cup. Tomorrow, he will head out hoping to overcome a disappointing first day and come away with a check.

"I had a solid practice, but the water temperature was much colder than I had anticipated it being," he said. "I started to practice shallow and it was solid and I thought I could catch 13 to 14 pounds (a day). I probably wasn't going to win it shallow, but with Grand and Chickamauga coming up, I wanted to stay in the hunt for the Forrest Wood Cup."

Today, the shallow bite tapered off and he's thinking he guessed wrong in terms of location of a few late spawners.

"The bites were a lot fewer today and the water temperature really came up on the day off," he said. "I'm probably going to change areas of the lake and try to scratch out 13 or 14 pounds tomorrow and keep myself in the hunt for the Cup."

Notable

> Day 1 stats – 155 anglers, 82 limits, 19 fours, 17 threes, 21 twos, 14 ones, 2 zeroes.

> According to FLW, pro Kevin Stewart and co-angler Grant Holderman had their day-1 weights zeroed after they inadvertently fished in an area designated as off-limits for competition.

Weather Forecast

> Fri., May 17 – Partly Sunny - 87°/64°
- Wind: From the N at 4 to 6 mph

> Sat., May 18 – Mostly Sunny - 89°/65°
- Wind: From the S at 3 to 5 mph

> Sun., May 19 – Mostly Sunny - 89°/65°
- Wind: From the S at 7 to 12 mph

Day 1 Standings

1. Justin Lucas -- Guntersville, Al -- 22-06 (5)

2. Joe Don Setina -- Pittsburg, Tx -- 22-03 (5)

3. Bryan Thrift -- Shelby, NC -- 20-06 (5)

4. Andy Morgan -- Dayton, Tn -- 19-15 (5)

5. Brandon Coulter -- Knoxville, Tn -- 19-14 (5)

6. Todd Hollowell -- Fishers, In -- 18-06 (5)

7. Scott Martin -- Clewiston, Fl -- 18-04 (5)

8. J.T. Kenney -- Palm Bay, Fl -- 17-13 (5)

9. Brent Ehrler -- Redlands, Ca -- 17-12 (5)

10. Randy Haynes -- Counce, Tn -- 17-03 (5)

10. Tommy Martin -- Hemphill, Tx -- 17-03 (5)

12. Adrian Avena -- Vineland, NJ -- 17-01 (5)

13. Ray Meredith -- Smiths Grove, Ky -- 16-14 (5)

14. Stetson Blaylock -- Benton, Ar -- 16-13 (5)

15. Spencer Shuffield -- Bismarck, Ar -- 16-12 (5)

16. David Dudley -- Lynchburg, Va -- 16-02 (5)

17. Clent Davis -- Montevallo, Al -- 15-12 (5)

17. Ryan Ingram -- Phenix City, Al -- 15-12 (5)

19. Luke Clausen -- Spokane, Wa -- 15-11 (5)

19. Tom Monsoor -- La Crosse, Wi -- 15-11 (5)

21. Casey Martin -- New Market, Al -- 15-10 (5)

22. Zell Rowland -- Montgomery, Tx -- 15-08 (5)

23. George Kapiton -- Inverness, Fl -- 14-12 (5)

23. Randall Tharp -- Gardendale, Al -- 14-12 (5)

25. Kelley Jaye -- Dadeville, Al -- 14-11 (5)

26. Shad Schenck -- Waynetown, In -- 14-07 (4)

27. Chad Grigsby -- Maple Grove, Mn -- 14-06 (4)

28. Ron Shuffield -- Bismarck, Ar -- 14-02 (5)

29. Austin Terry -- San Angelo, Tx -- 14-01 (5)

30. Ramie Colson Jr -- Cadiz, Ky -- 14-00 (5)

31. Robert Behrle -- Hoover, Al -- 13-15 (5)

31. Anthony Gagliardi -- Prosperity, SC -- 13-15 (5)

31. Brent Long -- Cornelius, NC -- 13-15 (5)

31. Jim Tutt -- Longview, Tx -- 13-15 (5)

35. Colby Schrumpf -- Highland, Il -- 13-13 (5)

36. Guido Hibdon -- Sunrise Beach, Mo -- 13-10 (5)

37. Dale Hightower -- Mannford, Ok -- 13-07 (5)

38. James Biggs -- Richland Hills, Tx -- 13-06 (5)

38. Jeff Gustafson -- Keewatin, On -- 13-06 (5)

40. Todd Schmitz -- Goshen, In -- 13-04 (5)

41. Alex Davis -- Albertville, Al -- 13-02 (5)

42. Jason Meninger -- Gainesville, Ga -- 13-00 (5)

43. Dan Morehead -- Paducah, Ky -- 12-15 (5)

44. Wayne Hauser -- Mooresville, NC -- 12-12 (5)

45. Mark Rose -- West Memphis, Ar -- 12-11 (5)

46. Jim Dillard -- West Monroe, La -- 12-10 (5)

47. Robbie Dodson -- Harrison, Ar -- 12-09 (5)

48. Cody Meyer -- Auburn, Ca -- 12-07 (5)

48. Wesley Strader -- Spring City, Tn -- 12-07 (5)

50. Troy Morrow -- Eastanollee, Ga -- 12-05 (5)

51. Todd Auten -- Lake Wylie, SC -- 12-03 (2)

51. Sammy Burks -- Joplin, Mo -- 12-03 (5)

53. Chad Prough -- Chipley, Fl -- 12-02 (5)

54. Jason Christie -- Park Hill, Ok -- 12-01 (5)

55. Ishama Monroe -- Hughson, Ca -- 11-13 (5)

56. Dave Lefebre -- Erie, Pa -- 11-12 (5)

56. Kyle White -- Tightwad, Mo -- 11-12 (5)

58. Jacob Powroznik -- Prince George, Va -- 11-11 (5)

58. Derek Yasinski -- Senoia, Ga -- 11-11 (5)

60. Bill Day -- Frankfort, Ky -- 11-10 (5)

60. Rodney Thomason -- Maumelle, Ar -- 11-10 (4)

62. Matt Arey -- Shelby, NC -- 11-08 (5)

62. Rob Kilby -- Hot Springs, Ar -- 11-08 (5)

64. Jason Reyes -- Huffman, Tx -- 11-07 (5)

65. Drew Benton -- Panama City, Fl -- 11-06 (5)

66. Scott Canterbury -- Springville, Al -- 11-05 (4)

67. Lamonte Loyd -- Gilmer, Tx -- 11-00 (4)

68. Shinichi Fukae -- Palestine, Tx -- 10-15 (5)

69. Darrel Robertson -- Jay, Ok -- 10-14 (5)

70. Koby Kreiger -- Okeechobee, Fl -- 10-12 (5)

71. Brandon Mcmillan -- Clewiston, Fl -- 10-11 (5)

71. Andrew Upshaw -- Hemphill, Tx -- 10-11 (5)

73. Barry Wilson -- Birmingham, Al -- 10-10 (5)

74. Charlie Ingram -- Santa Fe, Tn -- 10-09 (5)

74. Jacob Wheeler -- Indianapolis, In -- 10-09 (5)

76. Michael Neal -- Dayton, Tn -- 10-03 (4)

77. Philip Jarabeck -- Lynchburg, Va -- 10-02 (5)

78. Rex Huff -- Corbin, Ky -- 9-12 (4)

79. Chris Baumgardner -- Gastonia, NC -- 9-10 (5)

79. Christopher Brasher -- Hallsville, Tx -- 9-10 (5)

81. Scott Suggs -- Bryant, Ar -- 9-07 (4)

81. Jay Yelas -- Corvallis, Or -- 9-07 (4)

83. Lendell Martin Jr -- Nacogdoches, Tx -- 9-06 (5)

84. Shirley Crain -- Fort Smith, Ar -- 9-03 (4)

84. David Fritts -- Lexington, NC -- 9-03 (5)

86. Charlie Evans -- Gilbertsville, Ky -- 8-15 (5)

87. Scott Wiley -- Bay Minette, Al -- 8-13 (5)

88. Pete Thliveros -- Saint Augustine, Fl -- 8-08 (4)

89. Brad Rightnour -- Mingoville, Pa -- 8-07 (5)

89. Ray Scheide -- Dover, Ar -- 8-07 (5)

91. James Watson -- Waynesville, Mo -- 8-06 (4)

92. John Cox -- Debary, Fl -- 8-05 (5)

93. Matt Pennington -- Springdale, Ar -- 8-01 (3)

94. John Devere -- Berea, Ky -- 8-00 (3)

95. Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, Al -- 7-15 (4)

96. Vic Vatalaro -- Kent, Oh -- 7-14 (3)

97. Jonathan Newton -- Rogersville, Al -- 7-13 (5)

98. Wade Hendricks -- Thompsons Station, Tn -- 7-08 (3)

98. Rodney Jones -- Athens, Ga -- 7-08 (3)

98. Fred Roumbanis -- Bixby, Ok -- 7-08 (4)

98. Clark Wendlandt -- Leander, Tx -- 7-08 (4)

102. Jimmy Houston -- Cookson, Ok -- 7-05 (5)

103. Bob Eagleston -- Newberry, Fl -- 7-04 (4)

104. Ryan Chandler -- Valparaiso, In -- 7-02 (3)

104. Shawn Murphy -- Nicholasville, Ky -- 7-02 (3)

106. Chad Billiot -- Raceland, La -- 6-15 (5)

107. Kenneth (Boo) Woods -- Hazard, Ky -- 6-14 (3)

108. Ken Golub -- Pittsford, NY -- 6-11 (3)

109. Jeremy J.P. Prouty -- Vero Beach, Fl -- 6-10 (4)

110. Bill McDonald -- Greenwood, In -- 6-08 (4)

111. Alton Wilhoit -- Harrah, Ok -- 6-06 (2)

112. Stacey King -- Reeds Spring, Mo -- 6-04 (2)

112. Travis Loyd -- Kinmundy, Il -- 6-04 (3)

114. Cody Bird -- Granbury, Tx -- 6-03 (4)

114. Frank Clark -- Benton, Il -- 6-03 (3)

116. Allan Glasgow -- Ashville, Al -- 6-00 (3)

117. Dion Hibdon -- Sunrise Beach, Mo -- 5-14 (2)

118. Greg Bohannan -- Rogers, Ar -- 5-13 (2)

119. Mike Surman -- Boca Raton, Fl -- 5-12 (3)

120. Richard Lowitzki -- St Charles, Il -- 5-10 (1)

120. Jim Moynagh -- Carver, Mn -- 5-10 (3)

120. Matthew Stefan -- Park Ridge, Il -- 5-10 (3)

123. Randy Blaukat -- Joplin, Mo -- 5-09 (2)

124. Tim Malone -- Gatlinburg, Tn -- 5-05 (3)

125. Tommy Biffle -- Wagoner, Ok -- 5-03 (2)

126. Wade Leblanc -- Gonzales, La -- 4-12 (3)

127. Tom Redington -- Royse City, Tx -- 4-11 (2)

128. Chris Neau -- New Orleans, La -- 4-10 (2)

129. Robert Collins -- Morrow, Oh -- 4-03 (2)

129. Harry Moore -- Valley, Al -- 4-03 (1)

131. Rich Dalbey -- Greenville, Tx -- 3-15 (2)

132. John Voyles -- Petersburg, In -- 3-13 (2)

133. Jerry Gore -- St Cloud, Fl -- 3-11 (2)

133. Shane Long -- Willard, Mo -- 3-11 (2)

135. Glenn Chappelear -- Acworth, Ga -- 3-10 (2)

135. Travis Fox -- Rogers, Ar -- 3-10 (2)

137. Terry Bolton -- Paducah, Ky -- 3-09 (2)

138. Darrell Davis -- Dover, Fl -- 3-07 (2)

139. Zach Caudle -- Shreveport, La -- 3-04 (2)

140. Tommy Robinson -- Westland, Mi -- 2-15 (1)

141. Brett Hite -- Phoenix, Az -- 2-14 (1)

141. Michael Williamson -- Fort Smith, Ar -- 2-14 (2)

143. Payden Hibdon -- Sunrise Beach, Mo -- 2-12 (1)

144. Gerald Brown -- Chickasha, Ok -- 2-10 (1)

144. Robert Morin -- Seymour, Tn -- 2-10 (2)

146. Rusty Trancygier -- Hahira, Ga -- 2-04 (1)

147. Rick Cotten -- Guntersville, Al -- 2-03 (1)

148. Douglas Jones -- Fort Gibson, Ok -- 2-01 (1)

148. Larry Nixon -- Bee Branch, Ar -- 2-01 (1)

150. Stephen McKinnie -- Umatila, Fl -- 1-14 (1)

150. Blake Nick -- Adger, Al -- 1-14 (1)

152. Charlie Weyer -- West Hills, Ca -- 1-12 (1)

152. Gary Yamamoto -- Palestine, Tx -- 1-12 (1)

Tim Gaskill – Edwardsville, Il -- 0-00 (0)

Kevin Stewart – Elk Grove, Ca -- 0-00 (0)